When it comes to finances, your health care isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. However, it actually accounts for quite a lot of U.S. expenses. In 2016 alone, Americans shelled out a massive $3.5 trillion on health care expenses alone.

This isn’t surprising when paired with the fact that an estimated 3 million Americans visit urgent care centers every single week. In these situations, expenses can rack up quickly. However, there are steps you can take that can help you prepare when these situations do arise.

1. Be Proactive About Your Health

One of the best things you can do to save money is to be proactive instead of reactive. Getting regular check-ups, being updated on all recommended vaccinations, and ensuring a healthy lifestyle are a few great places to start.

By getting regular check-ups with your primary care physician, you’ll be able to nip any problems in the bud. If you’re experiencing any unusual issues, you can raise concerns to your physician so you can get help before any possible ailments grow worse. Besides this, your doctor can tell you when you may need certain exams that you may not have known about, or raise concerns regarding certain issues that might have otherwise been invisible. This can save you a great deal of money on emergency expenses down the line.

Besides getting your regular check-ups, making sure that your vaccines are all up to date can save your wallet from having to deal with expensive hospital bills and save you from possibly losing your life. Vaccines alone prevent 2.5 million unnecessary deaths from happening each and every year. This number doesn’t include the amount of people that they have saved from stepping foot in a hospital in the first place.

Ensuring that you’re living a healthy lifestyle can drastically reduce your likelihood for certain diseases and illnesses. Make sure to eat healthy, non-processed foods, drink lots of water, and make exercise a part of your daily routine. Those who cycled 20 miles a week found their risk of coronary heart disease decreased by 50%, according to a study by the British Medical Association. Strengthening your healthy eating and exercising habits will pay dividends in the long run.

2. Choose Your Health Insurance Wisely

In terms of saving money, your frugal side might tell you to choose the cheapest health insurance option available to you. While this may help you save on your monthly bill, it may end up costing you a lot more in the long run. Lower cost health insurance plans usually means higher premiums and deductibles. If you’re someone who has to use your health insurance plan more frequently, then your total health care expenses will most likely be higher with a lower-cost health insurance plan.

To make sure that you’re saving money when it comes to your health insurance, be sure to first check with your employer to see if they provide any benefits. On top of that, be informed regarding your options. Depending on your needs, different health insurance options are available to you.

3. When Issues Arise, Choose the Right Spot

Before any emergencies or big issues arise, it’s good to know where to go depending on what issues you are experiencing. Depending on the situation, it may be most appropriate to either make a call to your primary doctor, go to an urgent care center, or to the emergency room. This can be an expensive decision to make. According to debt.org, $18 billion could be saved annually from patients who go to the emergency room for medical problems that are “non-urgent” or “avoidable.” In most cases where the injury or illness is not life-threatening, an urgent care clinic may get the job done at a lower cost, as only 3% of patients who visit an urgent care center have to be sent off to an emergency room.

Health care can be an unseen expense that can creep up on you without warning. It’s best to be prepared for these situations, and take each and every precaution so you can stay in a great physical and financial spot in your life. With these tips, you and your wallet can rest easy.